Best Case Study Examples

Do you enjoy case studies? I do, especially when those case studies are about social media and content marketing.

At one point, I used to share examples I came across via Twitter using the hashtags #retailexp and #practicalmktr. And, then recap those tweets in blog articles. Eventally - in September 2011 - I created a first compendium in an article titled 100+ Case Studies: Social Media Marketing Examples.

A year later, on September 4th, 2012, I published a follow up article detailing 200+ case studies of social media and content marketing examples shared on Twitter from September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012. 

Fast forward to 2017. Social media and content marketing have evolved considerably. Although there are plenty of new examples, those original stories remain inspiring. I hope you enjoy the combination of classic and new case studies.

To help sort through the categories, I've created the following table of contents. 

 

Airlines and Social Media

The best (and worst) ways airlines use Twitter for customer service

Singapore Airlines finally discovers Facebook, Twitter http://ow.ly/6L1PL 

How JetBlue Deals with Social Media Whiners - "JetBlue, for example, has one customer service policy that it adheres to. And it uses it across the board, regardless of how consumers are getting in touch. There have been instances where the company has had to revamp its policy. Consistency is really important via social media channels, since they are so public. “If you are going to do something for one person be prepared to do it for everyone, whether they have a lot of followers or not,” he said."

10 Social Media stars includes JetBlueow.ly/btY8o 

American Airlines engages via social media in sincere authentic way ow.ly/d4OoM

Tweeting without fear with examples from @SouthwestAir http://ow.ly/8qtma

 

Alcohol Brands and Social Media

Please Tweet Responsibly: The Future Of Alcohol Brands On Twitter

How spirits producer Beam uses digital & social to extend customer experience ow.ly/bDmkW 

Nicely done Jack Daniels with your cease/desist letter ow.ly/czMqf

Valuable PR lessons from Heineken's bizarre dog-fighting crisis ow.ly/arp5Q 

How one small company is using QR codes: Sacre Bleu wines

 

Banking and Social Media

The 13 most interesting investment banks on Twitter right now

Social business and banking: transforming banking with social media http://ow.ly/7k6Gs

WSJ article about Banks going social: http://ow.ly/7LXjU Wouldn't it be more social to ditch fees & really listen to customers?

3 Financial Services Companies online, doing content & social ow.ly/83cDY

Role of social media in financial services marketing: insights including from @FrankEliason when he was with Citi ow.ly/b1T6F

Example of Social Media + Financial Planning: what's your story? ow.ly/cpycp

First Look: BankSimple's iPhone App Aims To Reimagine Your Money

Big Banks struggle to help customers on Twitter

10 Social Media stars includes Capital 1ow.ly/btY8o 

 

Beauty & Personal Product Brands and Social Media

#LONGREAD: Is Twitter Still Relevant For Fashion Brands?

L'Oreal advises men on perfect facebook profile picture. http://ow.ly/6exu1

L'Oreal leverages social media for customer service, brand loyalty ow.ly/7k4dU. 

How Orabrush went from YouTube to 3500 Walmart stores using social media http://ow.ly/6Ej0U.

Here's the YouTube video from Orabrush: http://ow.ly/6GO2P 

Thought-provoking brand examples re: how to use Pinterest creatively ow.ly/aJixX 

Kotex, one of 3 brands bridging online + offline ow.ly/c5EbJ 

 

Big Business and Social Media

19 Best Examples of How Top Brands Use Twitter

Real people vs. stock photos. G'by IBM happy man! Love this story ow.ly/6YZJk

FastCo describes 7 reasons for embracing social business with IBM as example http://ow.ly/6xKgq 

Social and digital case study: Adobe http://ow.ly/aJmij

Insight on GE's digital strategy: ow.ly/bkwdY

How Xerox integrates Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube selectively ow.ly/bDkDA

J&J's priorities for 2012: social, mobile: ow.ly/b1ZVq

Did you know Caterpillar uses social media to capture customer preferences for products ow.ly/bN4sv 

McKinsey perspective on how social media could add $1.3T to economy. ow.ly/d4lbe

10 Social Media stars includes Google ow.ly/btY8o. Here's a Google newspaper ad giggle: to demonstrate ads don't work. Or do they? ow.ly/d4kyn

Harnessing Power of Social Media: interview with Barry Libert: Important to focus outward  

 

Car Brands and Social Media

A Look At How Car Brands Are Effectively Using Social Media

What do you think re: introducing new car via social media game? Ford + Zynga for Escape ow.ly/7zChN

Thought-provoking brand examples re: how to use Pinterest creatively ow.ly/aJixX [Peugeot]

3 brands bridging online + offline, Honda [Pinterest] ow.ly/c5EbJ 

Ferrari uses social media to drive visitors to microsite ow.ly/aSDP1  

Very cool: travel for free across country using social media. Audi experiment: ow.ly/d4kmi

Great examples: how car dealerships use social media to reach customers http://ow.ly/6xRNK

Perspective on Big Brands [i.e GM] & Facebook ads ow.ly/bkr77

 

Casinos and Social Media

Become the Scorsese of Social Media Video: 12 Tips for Casinos

Did you know? social media pays off for casinos, customers http://ow.ly/68vfa 

 

Dentists and Social Media

Dentists using social media, online marketing to get found, connect with customers ow.ly/7Y389

 

Design and Social Media

Social Media for Designers: Instagram

Reinventing Design + social media: @Modenus BOB Magazine 

 

Disaster Communications and Social Media

 

CROWDSOURCING DISASTER RELIEF: Leveraging Big Data to Coordinate Disaster Response and Recovery

 

How different social media tools fit into disaster communication plans. From FastCo http://ow.ly/6tzjX 

Using social to match blood donors and recipients. Wow! ow.ly/8ayf8 

Stay tuned: disaster relief in social media age, including fr FEMA ow.ly/bN4zl

 

Education/Museum and Social Media

Please Turn On Your Phone in the Museum

Social Media Marketing Lessons: The Met's Sree Sreenivasan #BRITEConf

Google+ as means to opening social networking to K-12 schools. Wow! http://ow.ly/6ElO7 

Social media case study: Brooklyn Museum. Lesson: don't spread too thin. Great discussion in comments 


Entertainment and Social Media

Making businesses “fan”-centric requires functional transformation.

What brands can learn from Lady Gaga from @deniseleeyohn http://ow.ly/6qUon

Disney Interactive VP speaks re future of #Mobile Advertising. bit.ly/v6b9T1 

Inside Disney's Social strategy

10 SoMe stars Disney ow.ly/btY8o 

What Lionsgate did differently creating pre-Hunger Games buzz: ow.ly/aiYkM 

Great #practicalmktr perspective on Cirque du Soleil's social strategy: ow.ly/btX3E

Marvelous scientific + social media experiment: live tweeting National Zoo Panda artificial insemination ow.ly/bkrmF

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo http://ow.ly/b1XuD  -A&E

 

Fashion and Social Media

How fashion brands are taking Instagram from gimmick to strategic

How social media adds value to Fashion's Night Out; savvy retailers use it to build relationships http://ow.ly/6L0Xn

Did you catch live streaming of Fashion Week? Making fashion more immediate, accessible http://ow.ly/6L1cN

 

Food Brands and Social Media

5 Food & Beverage Brands That Lead in Social Media Marketing

Connecting With Customers In A World of Demand: Doritos At #BRITEconf 2015

3 brands bridging online + offline: Red Bull [FB] ow.ly/c5EbJ 

How Conagra's brands build online communities http://ow.ly/5WXgw 

How Beef industry in Australia uses social media for promotion

9 social media crisis questions Dole failed to answer ow.ly/arpip 

Using Twitter to sell ice cream treats ow.ly/7eUHB

Cadbury turns to Google+ to launch Bubbly bar and Searching For A Social Edge: One Brand’s Google+ Story


Food Outlets and Social Media

How Naked Pizza uses Twitter: http://ow.ly/6qTxi Genuine #practicalmktr humor!

10 Social Media stars include Starbucks, McDonalds ow.ly/btY8o 

Brand marketing interview: how Starbucks transformed coffee from commodity to brand http://t.co/Wg8yPvTi. 

The Starbucks Card makes transactions social from @TheBeanCast http://t.co/tdBe4IBr 

How California Tortilla handles customer feedback online. Notice consistent, co-wide approach http://ow.ly/6L0HZ 

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo http://ow.ly/b1XuD includes Burger King

KFC Twitter account has fun with @NYTChicken aka Sexy Chicken ow.ly/76i7o 

Love this success story of social media + traditional PR for @cupcakestophttp://ow.ly/80Y3V

From SXSW: What food truck owners can teach you about social media

Using social media to build internal teams: Red Robin ow.ly/bDkiW

How Chuck E. Cheese uses social media to engage with diff audiences ow.ly/bDmg9

Domino's posts online order comments on NYC Times Square billboard http://ow.ly/5RjPY 

 

Government and Social Media

Social Media in Government: Benefits, Challenges, and How it’s Used

I love crowd-sourced concepts. This one funded by US Dept of Defense to crowdsource military tactics http://ow.ly/6tE5K 

The Army’s social media handbook. Updated and with commentary http://ow.ly/6xRo6

Marines have released social media handbook. Now actively use tools of social media 

Love CDC's use of social media and humor to help peeps prepare for [zombie] apocalypse ow.ly/76h5r 

Marvelous how social media contributed to Mars Curiosity Roverow.ly/cUL5i

Brilliantly real and real-time: NATO and Taliban slug it out on Twitter ow.ly/8hria 

Using social media to rebut government extremists' messages. ow.ly/8tHQg

UN Global Pulse monitors data for real-time signals re: food, economy, jobs 19 min video http://ow.ly/bbcrc 

Using Twitter to track epidemics ow.ly/7zOUB


Hospitality and Social Media

Social Hospitality: How 8 Hotels Engage Guests On & Offline

Starwood leverage social media for customer service, brand loyalty ow.ly/7k4dU 

Four Seasons Hotel leans on social to act local. Details: ow.ly/b1Z7z 

 

Insurance and Social Media

How Zurich Insurance Uses Social Media, with Keith Lewis

Case study: Farmers Insurance helps agents use Facebook for ROI ow.ly/czvqj

 

Law Enforcement and Social Media

Digital Threats: How Law Enforcement Uses Social Media to Fight Crime

And how social media can help track the bad guys ow.ly/7zQ7l 

How social media can help FBI solve crimes ow.ly/7zQ1N 

Fascinating use of Google+: police present portrait of crime ow.ly/8qsR5

How Boston Police uses Twitter, texting for crime tips: ow.ly/aiYXR

Different perspective on 'getting found online': search, future of crime ow.ly/cfr6m 

Social media in action with police: ow.ly/czvn9 

 

Libraries and Social Media

How Libraries Are Using Social Media Expanding online toolkits to promote advocacy

AUSTRIAN CITY BECOMES A LIBRARY WITH QR CODES AND NFC STICKERS INSTEAD OF BOOKS - Klagenfurt created a new project putting scannable stickers around relevant locations allowing users to download digital content.

The Bookless Library - Don’t deny the change. Direct it wisely. The first is the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL). The second is an iPhone. Yet despite their obvious differences, for many people today they serve the same purpose: to read books. And in a development that even just thirty years ago would have seemed like the most absurd science fiction, there are now far more books available, far more quickly, on the iPhone than in the New York Public Library.

 

Luxury Brands and Social Media

Luxury Brands and Social Media Marketing - Dos and Don'ts

Top 10 social media luxury marketers of Q3 

Luxury e-retailers trounce manufacturers in engaging online shoppers

How customized QR codes can drive CRM

FastCo re: Facebook for the Famous gets at social network terms of service & who owns what http://ow.ly/7uhOS 

Thought-provoking brand examples re: H2 use Pinterest creatively ow.ly/aJixX 

Learn about Oscar de la Renta, role of social media. Great job @OscarPRGirl ow.ly/6Z0LO 

Have you read this FastCo story about Ralph Lauren's digital evolution? Fascinating #retailexp http://ow.ly/62VNu

Brooks Brothers Plays It Cool in Social Marketing - In social media marketing, Brooks Brothers is like an aloof bon vivant wearing a cool seersucker sports jacket on a humid summer day. The 194-year-old brand isn't frantically chasing friends and followers on social networks. Brooks Brothers is playing it cool. Instead, it's investing in tools and testing to improve the online shopping experience for customers and prospects - and increase sales.

Neiman Marcus is getting social and Neiman Marcus debuts first Foursquare challenge

How Burberry uses social networking for fashion catwalk show: ow.ly/6YZyG 


Manufacturers and Social Media

8 companies doing social media right and what marketers can learn from them

BlendTec shows how to measure the effects of a social marketing strategy. The blender manufacturer uses coupon codes and analytics to track shoppers.

Small surf shop plans to overtake competitors with technology

Reference resource: 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo http://ow.ly/b1XuD - Intel

How Oxygenics used Facebook content to increase fan base: case study http://ow.ly/bDiCu

 

Media Brands and Social Media

From Social Fresh a crowdsourced Facebook Marketing Book http://ow.ly/6dWxd 

 

News Organizations and Social Media

How the Press Use Social Media

Innovation lessons from Washington Post: http://ow.ly/6ElLF via FastCo

Time Magazine Google+ case study: ow.ly/czvIf

How Forbes uses social media. Fascinating! ow.ly/d4kLJ 

How NPR media strategist Andy Carvin tweets revolutions. http://ow.ly/6L2bJ Fascinating

Reimagining newspaper reading as inherently social experience: WSJ on Facebook ow.ly/6Z0oJ

 

Philanthropy and Social Media

HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HELP PHILANTHROPIC WORK?

How philanthropists can make use of social media: ow.ly/76ief 

 

Politics and Social Media

The Political Environment on Social Media

Social media and politics. Here, the Republican perspective http://ow.ly/7LXrP 

How political campaigns capitalize on Facebook ow.ly/8iHwz

Fascinating use of social networking to monitor political, global sentiment. ow.ly/8ay5n

Politicians and social media. Newt Gingrich & Facebook 

Love social media + politics: why social media couldn't predict Iowa race ow.ly/8AW79

A digital perspective on politics and election related communications ow.ly/aroSe

 

Religion and Social Media

How social media is changing the church

Case study example: religion on Facebook, more specifically Jesus Daily http://ow.ly/6L4dl 

Creative use of internet & social to connect with 'customers': Maine Convent recruits nuns: ow.ly/b20dI

In Sweden, Taking File Sharing To Heart and To Church

Bishops urged to embrace social media to evangelize effectively bit.ly/buUm0k

 

Retail - Big Box and Social Media

Worth watching: Walmart intends to reshape future of shopping #retailexp by mapping social genome http://ow.ly/6L2iK 

How to beat Walmart on Facebook

Lowe's introduces revolutionary customer #retailexp: "MyLowes" http://ow.ly/6LCqr 

Retailers discover useful in-store apps keep shoppers from escaping http://ow.ly/6Z1vt [Gap, Walmart, Target…]

Update on @HomeDepot's social media strategy ow.ly/6YYSM 

PayPal Test Program Will Let Home Depot Shoppers Pay at Checkout

Home Depot Innovates Customer Checkouts. The Home Depot deploys an array of creative checkout options designed to hustle customers out the door faster.

Lowe's: Pinterest + Facebook increases engagement

10 SoMe stars Walmart, Home Depot, Nikeow.ly/btY8o 

Walgreens Enlists Paid Social-Media Warriors in Battle With Express Scripts 

Target, Walmart Get Digital For BTS - For stores, back-to-school kicks off the important fourth quarter, and is the second-most-important sales event of the year, after the winter holidays. But Walmart says that for parents, it may even be more symbolic, with 76% of the moms it surveyed regarding it as more of a fresh start than January 1. Nine out of 10 even make school-year resolutions, it reports, with 78% vowing they will be more organized this school year, 75% hoping to save more money, and 61% making healthy eating a higher priority.

IKEA, one of 5 all time best Facebook Campaigns via @FastCo http://ow.ly/b1XuD 

Where Art & Science Meet - BJ’s Wholesale Club's CEO Laura Sen

Interesting how Michaels is using mobile apps to drive traffic in-store 

Tweeting without fear with examples from @bestbuy http://ow.ly/8qtma 

 

Retail - Department Stores and Social Media

Lord & Taylor focusing on hi-tech customer engagement tools. Check out comment about fitting rooms! http://ow.ly/6exEJ and Lord & Taylor Can Help Make Sure No One Else Is Wearing Your Prom Dress

Kohl's Broadens Its Cause-Related Efforts To TED

Nordstrom in Fashion with Social Media, Mobile Tech. Selected by U.S. News as one of America's Most Connected Companies for its use of technology to expand shopping options, Nordstrom has been aggressive about snapping up promising Internet ventures to diversify its business and experiment with new retail platforms. Its social media strategy extends well beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to an array of buzz-generating fashion and photo-sharing sites. Recognizing that its customers always want to stay connected, the company introduced complimentary Wi-Fi in its high-end department stores in 2010."

Using Pinterest for niche marketing: Bloomingdalesow.ly/czv3I 

JC Penney Introducing Foursquare, QR Promos for Holiday Angels programs

Macy's creates lifestyle hub with launch of mBLOG and Macy's Herald Square Awarded Best Holiday Windows in New York

Has your brand tested a Google+ hangout yet? Dell, Macy's have. ow.ly/8tHVu 

HauteLook wants chattier live chat agents. When consumers shop for a Getaways travel deal, live chat leads to more conversions. [division of Nordstrom]

Battle of the Digital Brands: JCPenney vs. Kohl’s - Overall, JCP is winning in social media. Although, the numbers would say otherwise, from a social media standpoint, JCP’s social strategy follows all of the best practices for engagement. Its posts are well-thought out and do a good job of delighting consumers and addressing their needs. From a mobile perspective, it’s a tie. Both retailers are doing different things on mobile, but each is doing them equally well. Both experiences are user friendly.

Harrods builds loyalists through royalty-themed Pinterest contest

 

Retail - Specialty Stores and Social Media

This is interesting: Urban Outfitters makes fall catalog available via Facebook: http://ow.ly/6xQKr

More about Zara as it expands its #retailexp online http://ow.ly/6xQOI and been wondering about this: Zara play catch-up with online shoppers http://ow.ly/6tAhJ 

Patagonia promotes used clothing on eBay. Environmental benefit + extends customer base http://ow.ly/6L1rg and Patagonia’s 2012 Social Media Priorities

Gap's social media policy a guide for other companies. The clothier gives its 134,000 employees a no-nonsense policy. Here are some highlights you might want to adopt.

6 lessons from Gap’s mobile journey to date

Michael Kors pushes wearability via real-woman digital campaign. Love it!

UNIQLO HIRES GRAMMY NOMINEE TO WAKE CUSTOMERS UP WITH A DAILY SONG [VIDEO] - The Japanese clothing brand engages consumers with a free social alarm app that sings about the weather of the day.

UNIQLO TAKES OVER PINTEREST CREATING ANIMATED MOSAICS - The clothing brand choreographed a sequence of mass-pinning on Pinterest to create a giant images promoting their new line of mesh clothing.

Pandora Operating Outside the Luxury Box - Customizable, affordable jewelry fuels Pandora’s growth

Four retailers who translated social media into revenue - Several retailers are getting the combo right, including DressBarn, Swisa, a high-end beauty retailer, Gymboree Play & Music, an offshoot of the children's clothing line, and Tretorn, a Swedish outdoor retailer. They each found a way to use social media to drive sales and traffic.

How Zappos uses/mines Facebook insights ow.ly/czPOc 

Etsy seeks scale w/o losing aesthetic: ow.ly/bDlOJ case study

C. Wonder Retail Concept Store Debuts in New York

Express CMO Lisa Gavales shares how to turn “likes” in to sales

How REI created a local social media strategy

GUESS deploying iPads to better serve shoppers

H&M has the most-followed brand page on Google+

The Shopping Science Behind Lucky's Revamp

Battle of the Digital Brands: Tiffany vs. Zales

Battle of the Digital Brands: H&M vs. American Apparel

WebThriftStore Streamlines Charitable Giving

Thought-provoking brand examples re: H2 use Pinterest creatively ow.ly/aJixX 

Most Customer Service Tweets Go Unanswered Within 24 Hours - But two retailers – Zappos.com and LLBean.com – replied to 100% of daily customer service questions posted to Twitter by STELLAService analysts in a recent 45-day study of the top 25 online retailers. It’s an impressive accomplishment considering the average for replies within 24 hours was just 44% across the top 25 online retailers.

Leveraging Loyalty: How Amazon In Fashion Creates Opportunities For Brands And Retailers -- Part 3 of 4 and Kindle-wielding Amazon dips toes into physical world

Ace hardware captures brand awareness via CAPTCHA Ads

 

Retail - Grocery Stores and Social Media

Tweeting without fear with examples from @wholefoodshttp://ow.ly/8qtma 

Pinterest case study: whole foodsow.ly/bN3nr

Virtual Trip To 'Local' Food Market Can't Beat The Real Thing Yet

Sainsbury's using QR codes to educate shoppers about Fairtrade products

How one shopping-addict transformed retail into a story-telling experience

Supermarkets and the social Web - “So much of social media is simply the basics of human interaction." 

 

Retailers Go Mobile and Social Media

How 6 retailers are using mobile to enhance the #retailexp http://ow.ly/6xRC1

Quick, Find a Parking Space. Shoppers Too Busy (or Lazy) To Walk From a Far-Away Spot Try Tricks, Tech to Get Closer; Even Valet Gets Swifter

How to integrate mobile into the retail experience: The Smartphone Shopping Experience Needs to Come Inside the Store

How spreading the ‘local love’ can help small retailers capture consumers’ attention

Smart retailers survive and thrive on smartphones and social networks

Square rethinks the register

Digital World Now Coaxing Shoppers Back to Stores - “But at the same time, more consumers have their mobile phones in hand so retailers who recognize that and take advantage of the phone as an information conduit to direct people to the right stores, or to find what they’re looking for at any moment in time, will be better served to succeed.”

Social networking applied to retail inventory control

What Retailers Want From In-Store Technology - Brick-and-mortar stores look to bridge the gap between online, mobile and in-store experiences. According to the Motorola Solutions data, 51% of retailers were investing in technology to improve customer service in stores. Moreover, 22% were doing so to keep up with the competition, and 18% aimed to increase inventory choices. Out of all the technology investments, in-store Wi-Fi bubbled up as a clear imperative for many retailers.

 

Sports and Social Media

MLB Fan Cave integrates social media with content & art http://ow.ly/76hfl 

So how will social media affect 2012 Olympics? infographics ow.ly/aJhTy

How social media can help keep Olympians visible in b/n events: ow.ly/bkwah

 

Transportation and Social Media

Old services meet new media: a tweeting cabbie's growing business

NJ Transit Starts Tap-And-Pay Smartphone Option With Google

 

Tourism and Social Media

Lovely! Obermutten Goes Social via Facebook. Watch video to see how online/offline R integrated ow.ly/8ayAZ 

 

How will you use these 200+ social media and content marketing examples and case studies? I'd love to hear.

If you come across interesting case studies, let me know in the comments and I will add them to this listing.

----

This article was originally published on 9/4/2012 and has been updated.

Image Credit: Great Serbian Brand on Flickr which uses social media.

How to Write a Case Study

  1. Find the right case study candidate.
  2. Reach out to case study participants.
  3. Ensure you're asking the right questions.
  4. Lay out your case study.
  5. Showcase your work.

Earning the trust of prospective customers can be a struggle. Before you can even begin to expect to earn their business, you need to demonstrate your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises. Sure, you could say that you're great at X, or that you're way ahead of the competition when it comes to Y. But at the end of the day, what you really need to win new business is cold, hard proof.

One of the best ways to prove your worth is through compelling case studies. When done correctly, these examples of your work can chronicle the positive impact your business has on existing or previous customers.

To help you arm your prospects with information they can trust, we've put together a step-by-step guide on how to create effective case studies for your business -- as well as free case study templates for creating your own.

Listen to an audio summary of this post:

How to Write a Business Case Study: The Ultimate Guide

1) Find the Right Case Study Candidate

Writing about your previous projects requires more than picking a client and telling a story. You need permission, quotes, and a plan. To start, here are a few things to look for in potential candidates.

Product Knowledge

It helps to select a customer who's well-versed in the logistics of your product or service. That way, he or she can better speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers.

Remarkable Results

Clients that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. If their own businesses have seen an exemplary ROI from your product or service, they're more likely to convey the enthusiasm that you want prospects to feel, too.

One part of this step is to choose clients who have experienced unexpected success from your product or service. When you've provided non-traditional customers -- in industries that you don't usually work with, for example -- with positive results, it can help to remove doubts from prospects.

Recognizable Names

While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands tend to lend credibility to your own -- in some cases, having brand recognition can lead to 24.4X as much growth as companies without it.

Switchers

Customers that came to you after working with a competitor help highlight your competitive advantage, and might even sway decisions in your favor.

2) Reach Out to Case Study Participants

To get the right case study participants on board, you have to set the stage for clear and open communication. That means outlining expectations and a timeline right away -- not having those is one of the biggest culprits in delayed case study creation.

It's helpful to know what you'll need from the participants, like permission to use any brand names and share the project information publicly. Kick off the process with an email that runs through exactly what they can expect from you, as well as what is expected of them. To give you an idea of what that might look like, check out this sample email:

You might be wondering, "What's a Case Study Release Form?" or, "What's a Success Story Letter?" Let's break those down.

Case Study Release Form

This document can vary, depending on factors like the size of your business, the nature of your work, and what you intend to do with the case studies once they are completed. That said, you should typically aim to include the following in the Case Study Release Form:

  • A clear explanation of why you are creating this case study and how it will be used.
  • A statement defining the information and potentially trademarked information you expect to include about the company -- things like names, logos, job titles, and pictures.
  • An explanation of what you expect from the participant, beyond the completion of the case study. For example, is this customer willing to act as a reference or share feedback, and do you have permission to pass contact information along for these purposes?
  • A note about compensation.

Success Story Letter

As noted in the sample email, this document serves as an outline for the entire case study process. Other than a brief explanation of how the customer will benefit from case study participation, you'll want to be sure to define the following steps in the Success Story Letter.

The Acceptance

First, you'll need to receive internal approval from the company's marketing team. Once approved, the Release Form should be signed and returned to you. It's also a good time to determine a timeline that meets the needs and capabilities of both teams.

The Questionnaire

To ensure that you have a productive interview -- which is one of the best ways to collect information for the case study -- you'll want to ask the participant to complete a questionnaire prior to this conversation. That will provide your team with the necessary foundation to organize the interview, and get the most out of it.

The Interview

Once the questionnaire is completed, someone on your team should reach out to the participant to schedule a 30-60 minute interview, which should include a series of custom questions related to the customer's experience with your product or service.

The Draft Review

After the case study is composed, you'll want to send a draft to the customer, allowing an opportunity to give you feedback and edits.

The Final Approval

Once any necessary edits are completed, send a revised copy of the case study to the customer for final approval.

Once the case study goes live -- on your website or elsewhere -- it's best to contact the customer with a link to the page where the case study lives. Don't be afraid to ask your participants to share these links with their own networks, as it not only demonstrates your ability to deliver positive results, but their impressive growth, as well.

3) Ensure You're Asking the Right Questions

Before you execute the questionnaire and actual interview, make sure you're setting yourself up for success. A strong case study results from being prepared to ask the right questions. What do those look like? Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What are your goals?
  • What challenges were you experiencing prior to purchasing our product or service?
  • What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
  • What did your decision-making process look like?
  • How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Where applicable, always ask for data.)

Keep in mind that the questionnaire is designed to help you gain insights into what sort of strong, success-focused questions to ask during the actual interview. And once you get to that stage, we recommend that you follow the "Golden Rule of Interviewing." Sounds fancy, right? It's actually quite simple -- ask open-ended questions.

If you're looking to craft a compelling story, "yes" or "no" answers won't provide the details you need. Focus on questions that invite elaboration, such as, "Can you describe ...?" or, "Tell me about ..."

In terms of the interview structure, we recommend categorizing the questions and flow into six specific sections. Combined, they'll allow you to gather enough information to put together a rich, comprehensive study.

The Customer's Business

The goal of this section is to generate a better understanding of the company's current challenges and goals, and how they fit into the landscape of their industry. Sample questions might include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What are some of the objectives of your department at this time?

The Need for a Solution

In order to tell a compelling story, you need context. That helps match the customer's need with your solution. Sample questions might include:

  • What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution?
  • What might have happened if you did not identify a solution?
  • Did you explore other solutions prior to this that did not work out? If so, what happened?

The Decision Process

Exploring how the customer arrived at the decision to work with you helps to guide potential customers through their own decision-making processes. Sample questions might include:

  • How did you hear about our product or service?
  • Who was involved in the selection process?
  • What was most important to you when evaluating your options?

The Implementation

The focus here should be placed on the customer's experience during the onboarding process. Sample questions might include:

  • How long did it take to get up and running?
  • Did that meet your expectations?
  • Who was involved in the process?

The Solution in Action

The goal of this section is to better understand how the customer is using your product or service. Sample questions might include:

  • Is there a particular aspect of the product or service that you rely on most?
  • Who is using the product or service?

The Results

In this section, you want to uncover impressive measurable outcomes -- the more numbers, the better. Sample questions might include:

  • How is the product or service helping you save time and increase productivity?
  • In what ways does that enhance your competitive advantage?
  • How much have you increased metrics X, Y, and Z?

4) Lay Out Your Case Study

When it comes time to take all of the information you've collected and actually turn it into something, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Where should you start? What should you include? What's the best way to structure it?

To help you get a handle on this step, it's important to first understand that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ways to present a case study. They can be very visual, which you'll see in some of the examples we've included below, and can sometimes be communicated mostly through video or photos, with a bit of accompanying text.

When it comes to recommending written case studies, we recommend focusing on seven sections, which we've outlined here. Note -- even if you do elect to use a visual case study, it should still include all of this information, but presented in a different format.

  1. Title: Keep it short. Focus on highlighting the most compelling accomplishment.
  2. Executive Summary: A 2-4 sentence summary of the entire story. You'll want to follow it with 2-3 bullet points that display metrics showcasing success.
  3. About: An introduction to the person or company, which can be pulled from a LinkedIn profile or website.
  4. Challenges: A 2-3 paragraph description of the customer's challenges, prior to using your product or service. This section should also include the goals that the customer set out to achieve.
  5. How You Helped: A 2-3 paragraph section that describes how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
  6. Results: A 2-3 paragraph testimonial that proves how your product or service specifically impacted the person or company, and helped achieve goals. Include numbers to quantify your contributions.
  7. Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Pick one or two powerful quotes that you would feature at the bottom of the sections above, as well as a visual that supports the story you are telling.

To help you visualize this case study format, check out this case study template, which can also be downloaded here.

When laying out your case study, focus on conveying the information you've gathered in the most clear and concise way possible. Make it easy to scan and comprehend, and be sure to provide an attractive call-to-action at the bottom -- that should provide readers an opportunity to learn more about your product or service.

Business Case Study Examples

You drove the results, made the connect, set the expectations, used the questionnaire to conduct a successful interview, and boiled down your findings into a compelling story. And after all of that, you're left with a little piece of sales enabling gold -- a case study.

To show you what a well-executed final product looks like, have a look at some of these marketing case study examples.

1) "New England Journal of Medicine," by Corey McPherson Nash

0 thoughts on “Best Case Study Examples”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *